Sunday, October 10, 2010


You would think if there would be anyone out there who is sensitive to all the historical and social connotations of requiring all citizens to take a loyalty oath involving one particular religion, it would be Israel.

You would be wrong, of course.

The Israeli Cabinet has approved an amendment to a citizenship law that requires new citizens to declare their loyalty to a "Jewish and democratic state," the prime minister's office said Sunday.

A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office confirmed vote, saying 22 ministers voted for the change and eight voted against it.

Now that the proposal has passed the Cabinet, it will be taken up by Israel's parliament, the Knesset, for passage into law.

Before his government's weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu made a forceful plea Sunday for changing the nation's Citizenship Law. He challenged criticism that the revision is undemocratic and could harm relations with the minority Arab population.

Netanyahu cited the nation's Declaration of Independence, which says Israel is both the "national state of the Jewish people" and a democratic state "in which all its citizens -- Jewish and non-Jewish -- enjoy fully equal rights."

"Democracy is the soul of Israel and we cannot do without it," Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his media adviser.

Like it or not, a good 20% of Israel's population is not Jewish.   There are Israeli Arab Muslims as well as Israeli Christians (who rarely if ever get talked about in the context of Israeli politics.)  I understand a new citizen swearing allegiance to the state they are a new citizen of, but a religion as well?

How is forcing people to swear allegiance to one religion as a citizen "democracy" in any way?

Imagine if all US citizens had to swear an allegiance to "our Christian nation".  That would be a violation of the First Amendment, of course...but you'll find plenty of folks who will tell you that this is A) a great idea for Israel and B) that we should do exactly that.

And hey, if the Republicans get back in charge, expect them to push this idea along with the rest of their Tea-ranny of the Majority program.

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